With the influx of misinformation regarding vaccines, the anti-vax population has grown significantly in the past few decades. So significantly that the Associated Press has been tracking vaccination rates among children, by state, to see who is protected from the deadly disease and who is not. The answers may not surprise you, but the numbers should -- at the very least -- shock you.
Some states are reaching that tipping point where the high rate of non-vaccinated children, or children whose parents have filed for a vaccine exemption, will begin to have a negative effect on even vaccinated people. And that is a place you do not want to be when the latest measles, whooping cough, or even polio outbreak occurs.
For those of you who think it's only your business whether your child is vaccinated or not, consider the families of these dead children.
Over 2,000 people became ill with whooping cough and 10 babies died in California from whooping cough, only one of which was vaccinated. And California isn't even in the top group of states filing for exemptions. But some areas of California have more non-vaxers than others. Hence, the other horrendous measles outbreak that quarantined San Diego children for 21 days and almost took the life of an infant who had the bad luck of being in the waiting room when the non-vax family infected with measles came in at the same time.
The states with the highest rates of non-vax kids include: Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Kansas, Hawaii, Illinois, and Wisconsin. In fact some areas of Washington have exemption rates as high as 50 percent. That community is not one I would even step foot in with my kids, or myself since I have an autoimmune disease. These clusters of people who choose not to vaccinate can cause damage to the community as a whole. How California isn't part of this list is beyond me, but I'm breathing a sigh of relief all the same.
Vaccines do not offer 100 percent protection, which is why the herd immunity rates are so incredibly important. In order to actually eradicate a disease, a large percentage of the population must be vaccinated against said disease. Which is why a polio outbreak is not so far-fetched. Not anymore.
Do you fear for your children's health if you live in these areas?
Image via Daniel Paquet/Flickr